As a reporter for more than 35 years, I have covered voting, legislation and politicians in just about any situation imaginable. One thing I have noticed time and time again is that the important issues create a lot of debate which would be a good thing if people didn't view them as strictly black and white.
Labor unions, civil rights, voting of women, all struck the same hard responses in their time as abortion and health care do today. But everything- and I don't use that word lightly - everything you decide about current issues depends upon what will affect you and yours personally.
My health was covered by the media organizations I worked for until I quit to become a freelancer. I jumped ship before what I refer to as "The Great Layoff of 2008" in the media industry. Like "Sniff," one of the prototypes (that happened to be mice) in the famous business guide, "Who Moved My Cheese," I looked for new food before my supply ran out. I knew if I waited, there would be a lot of journalists "scurrying" (Scurry was another prototype in the book) for whatever freelance work was available.
I didn't do it stupidly; I obtained health insurance before I left my former company. But a month after I had set up my home-based business, I received a letter saying my acceptance into the plan was withdrawn and my check for premiums was returned. Six denials later, I realized no insurance company was going to insure me at my age with the chronic conditions on my medical record, despite the fact I live a healthy lifestyle.
That made me one of the 50 million Americans who have no health insurance. Not because I refused to buy it; but because I wasn't permitted to buy it. That's what many who are against a public option don't realize: right here in the good old U.S. of A people die every day because they aren't permitted treatment. Sure, laws say emergency rooms must stabalize a person who is brought in, but they won't admit without an insurance card. And you can't be sent for expensive tests. (Oh- you may have cancer, or some other disease, but why be screened only to find out it might be fatal if you can't do anything about its progression?)
If you don't believe me, ask your local hospital admitting or billing department. Now a few "charitable" hospitals will take you in, but sometimes (pardon the pun) it takes an act of Congress.
Even though I had done stories about people being denied necessary treatment in the past, suddenly, this situation became my situation and I stayed on top of every candidate and sitting politician's stance. So you'd think I'd be in favor of the bill that recently passed the House and is now in the Senate, wouldn't you? After all, passage would mean I (and others like me) could get whatever treatment I needed, right? Why, we should be jumping up and down clapping our hands yelling "Pass it now!"
Except for one thing: This bill is a sham. It is full of restrictive measures and government mandates that won't end up helping enough people to matter but will cost us all for generations to come.
There is still time to stop this bill by calling your Senators. I would suggest you call them today. Oh- many of us out here need health care, but even if this bill passes we may not get it. It's a "fox in charge of the henhouse" bill. And why shouldn't it be? Congress won't have to live (or die) with it. They have their own health care plan, and retirement plan too. One stint in politics; one term in the seat and they draw pay and benefits for life.
The key is to make Congress use the public plan they design for the people. Then, and only then, will a "public option" be acceptable.